Man takes plea for 42 years in murder of former lover stabbed after Facebook threats

A man from South Carolina was sentenced Monday to 42½ years in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend in , after threatening her life on .

With jury selection for his trial about to begin, Louis Crawford, 49, had a change of heart and agreed to a second-degree murder conviction.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes immediately sentenced Crawford for the of Shandreka Wilkerson, 36, a mother of three.

The deal gives Crawford credit for the nearly 5½ years that he’s been in custody since the slaying inside a apartment.

With prison gain time for good behavior, he could become a free man around his 80th birthday.

Wilkerson’s family approved the plea agreement, said Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts.

The resolution of the case spares Wilkerson’s young children of the ordeal of a trial, the prosecutor said. The kids were 9 and 6 years old when they watched their mother die.

McRoberts forged the plea deal with defense attorneys Robert Gershman and Edward Reagan just as a prospective jurors were about to step into the courtroom.

“We’re done with the litigation in this case,” Judge Kastrenakes assured Crawford, who waived his rights to any appeals.

Until Monday afternoon, Crawford had insisted he killed Wilkerson in self-defense, despite ominous warnings he had left her on Facebook that her “days were numbered.” He also had rejected a 45-year plea deal.

Wilkerson, who was known as “Lisa,” was in a panic and called police about the threats two days before her death. She wanted to get a restraining order.

Only weeks earlier, Wilkerson and Crawford, known as “Justin,” had broken up and moved out of an apartment they shared.

She tried to keep her new address a secret, but Crawford managed to find out by lying to her apartment leasing office about being a housing official.

Wilkerson again called the cops to say she was in fear for her life. But Crawford got to her residence in the 800 block of 20th Street.

Just before she died from at least a dozen stab wounds, Wilkerson told a witness she had been stabbed by Crawford, a man she had met online in 2011, when she was living in her hometown of Panama City.

Police later tracked down Crawford and found a knife that contained a match to his DNA. He was charged with first-degree murder until the plea deal Monday.

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